Often called “caps”, a crown is designed to replace the outer structure of a tooth that has been damaged by decay or trauma. The purpose of the crown is to allow the tooth to function as a solid unit. This is especially important in teeth which have suffered due to a large amount of decay, trauma, or even heavy wear.
Most teeth that have been treated by endodontic procedures (root canal treatment) will require a crown restoration. Traditional crowns are composed of a metal substructure covered by porcelain. More recent advancements in crown fabrication and cementation have allowed the development of crowns that consist of only porcelain.
If anesthetic has been used, your gums, lips and tongue may be numb for several hours, after the appointment. If possible, avoid any chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has completely worn off. When you are numb, it can be very easy to bite or burn your tongue or lip. If you must eat before the numbness has worn off, be careful, chew on the opposite side of your mouth, and eat only soft foods. After your numbness has completely worn off, you may chew on these teeth like normal. If you experience sensitivity to chewing, you should avoid the area until the sensitivity subsides. It can be normal to experience slight discomfort and soreness after having a crown(s) cemented, especially around the gum tissue and injections sites. Advil, Aleve or Tylenol work well to alleviate the tenderness. Take this medication as directed. Anytime a tooth has to be worked on, it is very irritating to the nerve of the tooth. The nerve responds by becoming inflamed. The most common post-operative symptoms of an inflamed nerve are sensitivity to cold and chewing. While the tooth heals, you should notice the sensitivity getting less frequent and less severe. Usually, after a few weeks, most patients will feel back to normal. However, occasionally, it can be normal for sensitivity to linger for an extended period of time, after a crown has been completed. Every patient and every tooth is different. If the tooth had extensive decay, or trauma, such as a fracture (crack), increased sensitivity would definitely be expected. Also, if a patient clenches or grinds their teeth, healing can be delayed. As long as the sensitivity is getting less frequent and less severe, then the tooth is healing. If the sensitivity increases in frequency, duration, or intensity, sometimes further treatment may be needed. Symptoms to watch for are sensitivity to hot, swelling of the gums or cheek, a bubble to appear on the gums near the tooth, intense pain that wakes you up in the night, or a constant, intolerable ache. If you have any of these symptoms, please call our office. We recommend that you avoid chewing in that area of the mouth, and/or maintain a soft diet while healing. Make sure to have excellent home care, especially around the area worked on, brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. If you gums are very sore, rinse with diluted salt water or diluted anti-bacterial mouthwash. Take anti-inflammatory medication as directed, if needed, for pain. And wear a nightguard, if you normally wear one. If your bite feels uneven, if you have persistent pain, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office at (770) 479-3713.
You can read more under post operative instructions for Crown & Bridge.